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Advice for a 1st time buyer

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi Guys


Have been reading this forum for a while but only now needed to post.


I'm after some advice on buying my first pair of ski's.


I live in Australia and ski all most exclusively here - I would like to expand to NZ/Japan/Elsewhere but time/funds are always an issue.  This means that it is mostly groomed runs.


My skill level is that I can handle blue runs with ease - I often just have fun on them riding switch and doing 360's/lame little jumps.  Black runs I can do depending on the mountain, but it is usually concentrate time, not relax time.  I would not describe myself as a technical skiier - I don't do proper pole plants.


Physically I am mid 20's, 179cm tall (5'11") and 82kg (180lbs).  I am fairly strong in the legs.


So, what do I want from the ski?

Essentially this will be my only set of ski's for the first couple of years so I would like it to be fairly versatile.  Having said that, I gather than a proper all mountain ski is likely to be too wide in the waist for Australian conditions given our lack of powder.

I really enjoy skiing switch - prob do it up to 30% of the time - so would like twin tips.

Am starting in the park - usual noob tricks like sliding straight forwards across the lowest table :)


I plan to buy them online and ship them over, so website like levelninesports.com are useful.


So, my research so far has lead me to the Head BlackJack 80s


They seem like they might be good for what I want - relatively narrow at 81 in the waist.  Turn radius is prob a bit bigger than ideal, but then I expect I will be more skill limited than ski limited.  Would these be too big at 181cm?  2cm taller than me.


So far I have just skiied on rentals, which are usually head big easy.  From memory they usually give me the 160's (maybe 170's) and I have been doing the above on these.  From what I can find online they are quite narrow - low 70's.  Will I find an 80-85mm ski too hard to turn?  Or is it an easy transition.


I'm happy to get some lessons with my new gear.


Open to any other suggestions, and your help is greatly appreciated.


Thanks in advance

post #2 of 14

In my opinion what really effects a ski is the sidecut not the width. I don't think you would have any problem on a ski that is 80 or 85mm in the waist. If you go skiing in japan or somewhere else you could even go wider then 80mm. Even on hardpack 100mm+ waisted skis do fine. I have skied wider skis on hardback and have had no issues. Some skis like K2s kungfujas and the Lines blend are great pow/park skis. both skis I think are over 100mm at the waist. I have skied the blends and they felt really playful and fun.


Hope this helps you in your search!

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply.


Do you think 181cm long will be too big?  My understanding is that being twintips they are effectively a bit shorter.


I don't think these ski's have 'rocker' (which from what I can gather is upward turning of one of both ends of the ski roughly midway between the boot and the tip) - is that good or bad?  I get the impression it is mostly to help you 'float' on the powder.


A further question - given my usage, should I get the bindings for these/other skis put in the centre of the ski (again, research tells me this is best for skiing in the terrain park) or a bit further back in an 'all mountain' position seeing as most of my time is spent on groomed runs?


Thanks heaps for the help.

post #4 of 14

IMO, someone who skis mostly groomed runs and park should not buy a wide ski.  The notion that a wide ski carves groomed runs as well as narrow ski is ridiculous.   Yes, you can do it on a wide ski, but put on a narrow ski afterwards and you will immediately see the difference (for the record, my narrowest ski is 98mm, but I don't ski in Australia).    A wide ski with a tight radius sidecut is going to feel really weird and hooky, unless it has a lot of rocker, but then you also have other issues on groomed.   For the price it would be hard to beat the Head skis that you picked.  Head makes quality product, but make sure you tune them before you skis them, Heads have a reputation for having an atrocious tune out of the wrapper and they ski noticeably better after the bases are flattened and edges are set.  Any good shop should be able  to do the initial tune.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice.  Would you classify 81mm as too wide, or is it still slim enough to be counted as a carve ski (or do you have to be in the mid 70's for this?)


Also, from your post, I take it that rocker is not really going to benefit me at all?



post #6 of 14

As far as your switch skiing and binding mounting is concerned, you could go the Marker Schizo (Squires, Jesters... forgot the other one) route. They're bindings which you can move 6cm, so for switch skiing & park you move them into the centre, when you're back on piste you move them further back.

Otherwise it really depends what your priorities are, if  you want to spend a lot of time in the park and doing switch, in which case I'd say mount the bindings in the centre. If piste is still your main priority then mount them further back. 

81mm is fine.

Rocker isn't really going to benefit you, there's a few park skis with some marginal rocker profiles. Don't avoid slightly rockered skis like the plague, but also don't buy a ski that's got a lot of rocker. 

post #7 of 14

Oh and...

You've got your own, well fitted boots, right? There's absolutely no point in buy skis without first having properly fit boots. Finding a good boot fitters could take a little time, but is essential.

post #8 of 14

I would suggest going longer. For your size around 180 would be perfect. Don't make the mistake of getting a ski that's too short. If you start skiing more and develop more skill you will like having the extra length. Also twin tips will ski slightly shorter and rockered skis will ski shorter as well. Make sure if you get a softer rockered ski that you defiantly get a longer length. I would say for skiing mostly groomers anything up to 100mm underfoot and around 130mm in the tip would be fine. If you plan on skiing in the park a lot and skiing switch a ski like the one you are looking at would be more desirable. As far as bindings if you ski switch a lot then mount them near the center of the ski. However just remember that you will lose performance in powder with this setup. Also it may feel somewhat awkward at first. I think if you have a budget those skis you are looking at would be great! Also a great website to check out that has a fabulous selection of skis is evogear.com i think quite a few of their skis are on sale right now so there are some really good deals you might want to check out!


Also like the other poster said make sure you get good boots. No point in having good skis if you don't have good boots!




Hope this helps! 

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Awesome, thanks for the help guys. 


That evo site looks good, although I think I will go with the head ski's.


As for boots - I don't have any yet.  There is a place about 3.5 hours drive from me that is known for having a proper master boot fitter - you need an appointment, and he offers free lifetime adjustments (stretching, grinding etc) so I think I will go there (my plan is to allocate most of budget to the boots, cause I figure I will have them a long time, then replace the ski's as needed).


I will definately look into the adjustable binding setup - that sounds pretty much perfect for what I want (some days we spend lots of time in the park, other days we only do groomers).


In terms of getting bindings fitted to the ski - am I best to get that done here in Aus after buying my boots so that they can mount the bindings with the boot in mind, or should I get levelnine to mount them for me?  Are all boots compatable with those adjustable marker bindings, you do you need a specific/technical boot?


Thanks for the help -  much appreciated.


EIDT:  Was just looking at those Marker bindings on the evo website.  In terms of someone of my ski level, do you actually want to move the bindings when going into the park, or are you going to have messed with the 'response' of the ski compared to what you are used to and thus nail yourself into one of the rails/box's?  Would I be best just having them centre mounted the entire time, or all mountain the entire time?


As an idea, I'm no where near as good as this, but this is the level I would like to achieve:



Thanks again

Edited by Sternocleido - 5/31/12 at 3:30pm
post #10 of 14

The idea of putting a majority of your budget into boots is a great idea.  Making the effort to find a proper boot fitter is likewise a terrific idea.  Normally this will involve buying some form of proper footbed (the footbeds that come with the boots are usually pretty basic) whether it be off the shelf or custom moulded.  Your fitter will work with you on this.  Let the fitter know your park/switch tendencies up front.


For Aus skiing you should focus on something in the narrower end of the twin tip spectrum.  We hardly ever need skis up around the 100mm mark, and if you head to Japan you can rent some fat, rockered numbers up there for off piste work or for deep days.  I'd focus on something with a waist width in the low-to-mid 80s.  The Head sounds about right for your needs, and 181 will work for you, although they may feel a little awkward for a few days as you learn to adapt from the shorter skis you've been renting.  For riding switch and park use mounting the bindings further forward (towards the centre, if not at centre) will help.  For other purposes (other than the spinny / flippy stuff) a more standard mount would be better.  Probably best to buy the skis unmounted and then discuss your intentions with your boot fitter.  Given your intended (multi-purpose) use for the ski it would be handy to be able to move your mount point, and some bindings allow this (including demo bindings).  The Marker Schizo binding provides a huge level of adjustment - forward and backward up to 3cm.  How well it stands up to the demands of park landings etc. I've no idea, and perhaps others can chime in to fill you in on that front.


Other than that, if you can wait and wish to demo some skis, the SkiMag demo weekends are on at Perisher (23/24 June), Thredbo (30 June/1 July) and Hotham (21/22 July). 


Good luck.

post #11 of 14

Oh!  All the alpine boots you're likely to look at will work with the Schizo binding.  You could investigate mounting them forward of normal such that you're in a standard mount point with the binding towards the rear of the adjustment range, and then have the bulk of the adjustment range to move yourself toward the centre of the ski.  Having said that, there are other options - most demo bindings allow you to move your mount point on the ski.  Again, best to talk it over with your boot fitter.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Great - thanks heaps for the help.

Think I basically have a plan now.


All the input is very much appreciated.

post #13 of 14

Glad to here it!!! Definitely when you go to the boot fitter talk about some different styles of boots and definitely try lots of pairs on in the shop and find out what you like. Do not skimp out on the boots. Once you get your skis and bindings too you might want to bring them to the shop so the fitter can align everything properly. You don't have to do this just something to consider when making your purchase. 


Good luck!!! and have fun shredding the gnar on your new gear ski.gif

post #14 of 14
Originally Posted by Skibum232 View Post

Glad to here it!!!


A BnPA alias?

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